France: Presidents and Power
France: Presidents and Power 2022-23
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Since long before the first Revolution, France has had a well-earned reputation as a difficult country to govern; to this day its political life is characterised by confrontation to a degree unusual in a major power. This module explores episodes and tendencies in the history of modern France, from the formation of the Third Republic in the catastrophe of 1870 up to the present day. We will explore examples of parallel stabilities and instabilities - sometimes existing at the same time - often involving grave threats to the survival of Republican France. Attention will be paid to the role of the Président de la République, as it has evolved from little more than a nominal function to one of the most powerful offices in Europe. Not that the incumbents of the presidency are the only figures of interest; others working both for and against the republic of their own time will be shown as figures of comparable influence and importance.
Key texts Eric Conan and Henry Rousso, Vichy: Un passé qui ne passe pas (Paris: Fayard, 1994) Régis Debray, Que vive la République (Odile Jacob, 1989) Sudhir Hazareesingh, Political Traditions in Modern France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994) Andrew Knapp, The Government and Politics of France, 4th edn (London: Routledge, 2001) Henry Rousso, Le Syndrome de Vichy: De 1944 à nos jours (Paris: Seuil, 1990) Benjamin Stora, La Gangrène et l’oubli (Paris: La Découverte, 2005)
-threshold -D- - D+: In order to merit the award of credit, students should demonstrate a solid comprehension of the historical material. They should also demonstrate an awareness of relevant historical and political critical thinking.
-good -C- - B+: Students attaining the higher grades in this course will have shown not only comprehension of the figures and episodes studied in their own right, but will also demonstrate a clear ability to contextualise them, grasping historical currents contributing to each episode, and also each episode¿s after-effects. They will show an ability to explore and re-evaluate critical judgements in the light of their own reading.
-excellent -A- - A*: Students attaining the highest grades in this course will have thoroughly immersed themselves in primary and secondary reading, with which they will engage at a mature and incisive level. They will produce insightful, nuanced analysis. They will have demonstrated a very high level of engagement with the conceptual as well as factual aspects of the material studied.